Monday, July 31, 2017

When Speech is Violence - Weapons Are Meant To Be Felt - Not Seen...,


I'm an aggressor. I have a knife. Knives are never meant to be seen, only felt. Not only can I model my desired aggression toward you in pictures, words, and even movements, I can engage in active deception so that you never see that knife attack coming. I don't believe there are any animals capable of that complex mix of behaviors. Sure there's deception, sure there's aggressive play and practice, but nothing even remotely approaching the complex systematic, formal and premeditated instrumental behavior I'm describing above.

Now if I were blessedly more naive about how such things go, I might model in my mind's eye displaying the knife like a poor simple creature instinctively engaging in threat displays in hopes of scaring you off, which threat displays mask its underlying real instinctual aversion to lethal violence.

Fourteen years ago on the afrofuturism list, I offered the ancient anecdote about Sack's aphasic patients sitting in the common lounge watching Ronald Reagan deliver a speech. To a person, these language-disordered patients were amazed by the paradox of the actor's facial expressions and body language conveying a message totally at odds with what was coming out of his mouth. They could directly observe both the unspoken intention and the contrasting spoken deceptions. We all have this capability to varying degrees. My own liminal acuity (perception of facial or body language contradiction) is off the chart.

So it is with longstanding, consistent, and finely-honed trepidation that I spy out the corner of my eye the most recent speech as violence perpetrations emanating from a longtime, consistent, and influential source the NYTimes: When the political scientist Charles Murray argues that genetic factors help account for racial disparities in I.Q. scores, you might find his view to be repugnant and misguided, but it’s only offensive. It is offered as a scholarly hypothesis to be debated, not thrown like a grenade. 

Milo Yiannopoulos is compared and contrasted in the same article as a genuine perpetrator of "speech as violence". That’s why it’s reasonable, scientifically speaking, not to allow a provocateur and hatemonger like Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at your school. He is part of something noxious, a campaign of abuse. There is nothing to be gained from debating him, for debate is not what he is offering.

With regard to Milo Yiannopoulos and the alt-right - there are few better example of the use of words as "virtue-signal" for collective violence. It's a very good thing that this cohort is demographically composed of untermensch. The alt-right is busily wallowing in the joys of formerly forbidden memetic signification within its demography. Keyboard warriors, one-and-all, these gamma males are living a bronetic Weimar Germany/MS-13 fantasy from the safety of their mothers' basements. Anonymous bad-talk through keyboards is not the same thing as MS-13 face tattoos.

Within MS-13, serial killers openly signify within their community of interest exactly what they're on about. A better example of "speech" as violence with an underlying ethological analog would be pretty hard to find. I would equate that signification to a brightly colored poisonous reptile advertising its venom, with the difference being that the gang-member has agency over its advert while the venomous reptile does not.

Yiannopoulos and Murray are each mentioned in the article, with the former given as an example of an intentional provocateur and the latter as an example of a public intellectual. From the perspective of "speech as violence" the now ruined and discredited Yiannopoulos was never anything more than a D-list gadfly. Murray, on the other hand, falls somewhere between professional political propagandist and un-indicted war criminal - imnsho.

Calling Charles Murray "merely a political scientist" when in fact he was an anthropologist studying, developing, and implementing large-scale counter-insurgency methods in Vietnam, which methods he turned around - and with substantial political backing - promoted aggressively in the U.S. - is more than a little disingenuous. Charles Murray has always both intended and practiced severe rhetorical violence against both real and imagined enemies. The fact that his pseudo-academic deceptions are even more refined and subtle than Ronald Reagan's thespian deceptions - (wonder what the aphasics who saw through Reagan's talk/expression contradictions would make of Murray?) doesn't make them any the less premeditated, systematic, or violent.

Murray has always known full-well that a knife is never meant to be seen, only felt. So did President Reagan or at least his speech writers and handlers...,